Durban – PREMIER Sihle Zikalala yesterday said that farm murders were an indication of unresolved and deep-seated issues around land ownership and land poverty as well as the country’s racist past.
He made the statement in the wake of last month’s murders of Glen and Vida Rafferty on their Normandien farm. Zikalala and Agriculture and Rural Development MEC Bongi Sithole-Moloi visited the Newcastle farming area recently.
Zikalala said they wanted to find lasting solutions to tensions within the community.
A day after his visit locals apprehended two men carrying what they suspected were stolen items.
Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said two men entered a house at a farm in Hattingspruit. They stole cash, a cellphone and a computer monitor.
“The local farmers spotted the two men carrying the stolen property. They were apprehended. The suspects aged 21 and 25 were placed under arrest. Hattingspruit police are investigating a case of burglary and theft,” Gwala said.
Zikalala said they met the local farming community to get to the bottom of their concerns and challenges.
“The improvement of policing in the area is a priority. The police were accused of taking sides in their investigations. We would like to see farmers and farm residents working together to address the issue of access to basic services,” said Zikalala.
Meanwhile, Police Minister, General Bheki Cele is hosting a Ministerial Rural Safety Imbizo in Normandien.
During a previous visit, Cele assured the community that he will return to the area to address some of their concerns through the National Rural Safety Strategy that is aimed at looking at a holistic approach to rural safety that includes collaboration between government, the private sector and civil society.